Flooring Transitions: What You Need To Know

Remember, interior design ideas aren’t limited to decor and furnishings. Features like flooring transitions also help to beautify your home.

By Tina Jepson


Transition flooring ideas aren’t something many homeowners think of when they go to put down new flooring. But whether you’re adding new carpet, replacing old tile, or refinishing your hardwoods, transitions in flooring are an important consideration.


Here’s a perfect example. A few weeks ago, we had new carpet installed on the second level of our home. In the process, a hardwood transition strip that separated our child’s nursery and the hallway broke in half. Finding the right style and color strip took some time and research, but now we have a seamless passage.


While they aren’t necessarily exciting and glamorous, flooring transitions are a necessity for any coordinated interior design scheme. Here’s everything you need to know about transition flooring.


Types of Transition Flooring

To understand which type of transition strip you need, you first must understand what they do. The main purpose of this building material is to bridge the gap between two rooms, regardless of the material on the floor. Typically, transition flooring is purchased in strips of varying lengths and widths. Aside from the overall design and color,  the main differences lie in how they accommodate uneven and different flooring materials.



Photo by shutterstock


There are four main types of molding available to handle floor transitions.


  • T-Bar: These transitions are commonly used to bridge two level flooring materials, including:
    • Carpet to carpet
    • Hardwood to hardwood
    • Vinyl/Laminate to vinyl/laminate
    • Non-carpet to non-carpet



Photo courtesy of thegoldsmith.us


As you can see, t-bars are ideal for similar flooring materials, but they are also commonly used as a doorway transition.


  • Carpet Transition: Used for carpet to carpet or carpet to any other type of flooring, carpet transition strips contain tacks to secure the carpet to the molding.



Photo by diy.stackexchange.com


  • Surface Reducer Strips: When you’re working with uneven or different flooring materials, this is the best type of flooring transition. Whether you’re going from tile to vinyl or hardwood to laminate, a surface reducer strip should do the job effectively.



Photo by shutterstock


  • End Molding: For a more refined look, many homeowners choose to use end molding. These strips have what resembles an “L” shape and accommodate a number of flooring materials. End molding is also commonly used when flooring brushes up against stairs, doors, fireplaces, etc.



Photo courtesy of uniquewoodfloor.com


Purchasing or Making Transition Flooring

When having new flooring installed, transitions are often included. However, when tackling flooring projects yourself, you’ll need to purchase and install these transitions on your own. You’re best bet to find a good selection of transition strips is to either do an online search or check your local home improvement store.



Photo by dreamstime


If you’re a DIYer, you may be wondering how to make your own floor transition. Follow these steps to create a seamless wood transition:


  • Choose a wood strip that’s at least 2 inches wide.
  • Take measurements of the length of the transition (such as the door jamb or length between two rooms)
  • Measure the following:
    • The gap between the two flooring materials.
    • The length between the gap and where you want the transition to start.
  • Cut your strip to length.
  • Flip the board around and mark the space where the wood will fit into the gap (from the measurements above).
  • Cut the two sides of the notch using a table saw.
  • Trim away the sides of the board.
  • Stain/paint the board.
  • Place the notch into the floor gap and nail or glue down.


After you’re done your flooring transition project, you’re left with a beautiful, seamless bridge from one area to the next. It’s easier on both your feet and your eyes!


Remember, interior design ideas aren’t limited to decor and furnishings. Features like flooring transitions also help to beautify your home. Thankfully, flooring transitions are a DIY cheap home improvement project that can make a huge difference in the overall appearance of your floors.

Next: 7 Fun Weekend Home Improvement Projects